Norway Medieval Arts Part I

By | December 17, 2021

Northern European state, which occupies the western part of the Scandinavian peninsula, whose modern name derives from the ancient Norse Norvegr (‘the way, or the land, towards the North’), documented from the end of the century. 9 ° in the accounts of the traveler Ottar, who came to the English court of Alfred the Great, king of Wessex (871-899). Territory originally divided into several smaller kingdoms, each subject to its own sovereign, the Norway was reunited in a ‘ the only state entity around 900 from the warrior king Aroldo I Haarfager; however, the domination of central power over both the far north and the southeastern regions, prosperous from an agricultural point of view and in which Danish influence was very strong, remained uncertain for a long time. Norway of the early medieval period is largely unexplored due to the lack of sources, but the exceptional discovery of the ship-tomb of Oseberg (v.), today in Oslo (Vikingskipshuset Mus.), seems to reflect the vitality and capacity for cultural innovation that characterized the political nucleus that existed before unification. Under kings Haakon the Good (c. 940-960) and Olav Trygvasson (995-1000), who both had close relations with England, some attempts were made to introduce N the Christian religion. Even if the role played by the personal faith of the kings should not be underestimated, the work of Christianization found above all a political motivation, since it aimed to crush the resistance to the new sovereignty that had roots in the power system of pagan society. For Norway 2013, please check

The fervor of Olav II Haraldsson (see Olav II) and his court bishop led the Norway definitively within the block of Christian countries, with an effort that however led to the fall of the king and his martyrdom in 1030. The organization ecclesiastica strengthened the central power, even if the Norway had to experience, albeit to a lesser degree, the conflicts between royal and papal authority that generally characterized the centuries. 11th-12th in Europe. The period of greatest expansion of the Norway occurred during the reign of Sverre Sigurdsson (1177-1202) and his dynasty. Through territorial conquests and dynastic marriages, around 1300 the Norway came to have an empire that included Iceland, Greenland and the Orkney Islands, Shetland and Faroe Islands in the North Sea, while in the Scandinavian peninsula considerable parts of what would later become Sweden and, in the far north, an area extending within the od. Russia. Above all along the coast many important cities developed which became seats of both secular and ecclesiastical administrations: Bergen (v.) Was a royal residence in the century. 13th, while Oslo (v.) Became the capital from about 1300. These two cities, together with Stavanger and Hamar, were bishopric seats, while Trondheim (v.), Following the reform of the ecclesiastical organization of about 1150, became the seat of the archbishop of Norway. The cities constituted the main ’emporiums’ through which the styles and fashions of the various European centers arrived in Norway medieval was based on a variety of resources. Agriculture was practiced not only in the southern valleys and plains, but also on a large scale in the Trondheim region and further to Norway Fishing gradually developed its organization in medieval times, so that dried and salted fish became the Norwegian export product most in demand on European markets. Not endowed with mineral resources, Norway maintained a rich trade with the continent in luxury items of subarctic origin, such as fine furs, walrus ivory and falcons trained for hunting. A well-organized system of taxation and tithing directed much of the profits of this dynamic economy into the coffers of kings and the Church. L’ intense architectural production that characterized the Norwegian Middle Ages, with the series of large Romanesque cathedrals erected in the mid-century. 12th and the completion of Trondheim’s grandiose cathedral in the course of the 13th, together with the construction of royal castles and centuries-old palaces on a truly European scale, must be seen as a corollary of this economic vitality. brought in the century. 14 ° to a gradual loss of independence: Norway and its dominions were merged now with Sweden now with Denmark and the Norwegian state regained its independence only in 1814.Architecture.- Of the medieval churches that once existed in Norway approximately two thirds (probably about two thousand) it seems that they were built of wood and therefore belonged to the different subtypes of stavkirker, wooden missionary churches widely distributed in northern Europe, from England to Germany and Denmark. In their primitive forms they presented the vertical beams, on which the roof rested, driven directly into the ground, with a technique that made the building subject to rapid decay.

In Scandinavia, although not necessarily in Norwegian territory, the practice of building on a perimeter stone foundation was developed. The fully developed stave church – with its advanced thrust containment devices – must be attributed to an environment where shipbuilding technology could be tapped; in Scandinavia this type of material culture could be found in any of the larger port centers. stone architecture appears largely made with imported cutting and construction techniques; however already in the century. 12 ° in the largest Norwegian cities local schools of stonemasons must have been founded who worked for the same cities and for the rural districts connected to them. For the major construction companies these local schools had to be supported by foreign workshops and this explains the various direct loans from the construction sites of the English cathedrals: among the capitals carved in the Romanesque nave of the Stavanger cathedral there are some that closely recall the style and the figurative language of the capitals of the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral (1100-1120 ca.); still in Stavanger, in the part of the cathedral some decades later (1150-1160), there are carved examples of the chevron ornament, typical of the Anglo-Norman Romanesque. Splendid examples of this decoration are also found in the contemporary portals and chapels of the transept of the cathedral of Trondheim. 13 °, architectural forms imported from England can be found. In the gothic choir of the cathedral the presence of the crocheted pillar has been identified (Fischer, Fischer, 1965), a characteristic element of the part dating back to the 1920s. 13th of Lincoln Cathedral. Furthermore, in the nave of Trondheim, from the second half of the century. 13 °, reduced to ruins after the Reformation, the archaeological remains indicate the presence of bas-reliefs with angels placed in the spandrels of the arches, an element that undoubtedly emulates the almost contemporary one of Lincoln’s Angel Choir. Other characteristics of the elevation (shape and distance of the windows) may indicate loans from another famous English construction site of the time, that of Westminster Abbey A direct influence of the English construction practice of the Gothic period, probably following the intervention of a British architect, it must finally be seen in the structure of the western facade of the cathedral of Trondheim (ca. masking its architectural form. The models for this solution, which remains unique in Scandinavia, could be the facades of the Lincoln, Wells and Lichfield cathedrals. However, the hypotheses reported so far are based only on analysis of archaeological data, unfortunately incomplete, while there are no written documents that can support an alleged close Anglo-Norwegian cooperation in the architectural field. Swedish cathedral of Lund (12th century), a prominent monument in the panorama of Germanic-Lombard Romanesque in Scandinavia. Its double blind arches, classical capitals and moldings on the base of the pillars reappear in a group of Romanesque churches in Bergen, built around 1150; in particular in the Mariakirken these Lombard characteristics, visible in the nave and in the choir, are combined with the Romanesque-Norman lines present in the two towers of the western facade. A third and important current of influence is felt in a group of religious buildings of the century. 12 ° in the north east, with a route that starts from Oslo to reach the districts to the north of this city.

Norway Medieval Arts